Colombia

COLOMBIA: A Week in Northeastern Antioquia, Colombia--Learning about the Armed Conflict

 

Delegates walk through the town of Mina Nueva, Antioquia. Photo: Caldwell Manners

Over Easter break, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) and a grassroots organization CAHUCOPANA (Corporation for Humanitarian Action for Peace and Coexistence in Northeastern Antioquia) organized a national delegation for Colombians to travel to the northeastern region of the department of Antioquia. These two organizations seek to raise awareness about the realities of the armed conflict as well as to defend the human rights of communities who live in the armed conflict zone.

Those of us on the delegation represented the cities of Bogota, Ibague, and Cali. We had several purposes for participating: to learn about the armed conflict from the experience of those who live in the conflict zone; to learn about how each community undertakes peaceful resistance; to learn about the concerns of each community; and to learn about the solutions each community has developed to resist the challenges brought by the armed conflict.

COLOMBIA: Sign the Petition--Flood the US Congress with letters of Peace in Support of Colombia!

Days of Prayer and Action | Building Peace from the Ground Up

Send your members of the House and Senate an email laying out eight ways the U.S. Congress can support peace and respect human rights in Colombia. Just enter your zip code below to use our quick and easy email form!



Members of the community El Guayabo and El Garzal demonstrate in front of the Palace of Justice on May 4, 2016. They had gathered to support Alvaro García, a El Guayabo community member who was recently arrested.

Members of the community El Guayabo and El Garzal demonstrate in front of the Palace of Justice, Barrancabermeja on May 4, 2016. They had gathered to support Alvaro García, a El Guayabo community member who was recently arrested. Photo: Caldwell Manners

Each year, grassroots advocates across the United States and Colombia raise up their voices and call for peace during the Days of Prayer and Action for Peace in Colombia. Join us this year on May 23rd as we flood Congress with messages encouraging U.S. support for peace in Colombia!

Colombia can finally see peace on the horizon. But peace isn’t guaranteed with the signing of a peace agreement; true peace with truth, justice, and reparations will take years of work.

For more than 15 years, the U.S. government provided Colombia with military-focused assistance through Plan Colombia.

As the U.S. government begins to plan for a new “Peace Colombia” assistance package aimed at implementing peace, let’s encourage rights-respecting aid that recognizes that “post-accord” does not mean “post-conflict.”

Every email sent and phone call made shows Congress that we stand in solidarity with Colombian civil society, faith, and victims’ groups committed to building a lasting peace in Colombia.

Click on the link to sign the petition. At the bottom of the page after you enter your zip code below, your representative and senators’ contact information will appear, as well as a sample email.

SIGN HERE

Prayers for Peacemakers May 4, 2016 Light a Candle in Solidarity with Alvaro Garcia

Prayers for Peacemakers May 4, 2016 Light a Candle in Solidarity with Alvaro Garcia

Christian Peacemaker Teams Colombia is asking for your prayers and action in support of Alvaro Garcia, arrested as part of the ongoing persecution of the farming communities of El Guayabo and Bella Unión.  For background on his arrest, and the authorities’ collusion with a wealthy landowner involved in the communities’ persecution, click here. 

At 10:00 a.m. on Thursday 5 May, members of El Guayabo and Bella Unión are gathering in front of the courthouse in Barrancabermeja alongside their supporting organizations to demand transparency and fairness from authorities and to insist on an end to the stigmatization of small farmers as guerilla supporters.  The action will include testimonies, prayer, and lighting candles as a symbol of truth and hope. Afterwards, members of the communities will travel to the jail where the authorities are imprisoning Alvaro Garcia for a liturgical ceremony in hope that Alvaro will hear them. 

On Thursday, take action by lighting a candle to stand in solidarity with Alvaro Garcia. Post your image on FacebookTwitter, or email it to us. Use the hashtag #LibertadparaAlvaro.


 

COLOMBIA: Days of Prayer and Action 22-23 May 2016 celebrate grassroots peacebuilders

 

 

Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia

 

Save the Date: May 22-23, 2016

May 22-23, 2016 will mark the annual Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia (DOPA). For eleven consecutive years, churches of Colombia, North America and the surrounding region have joined this journey that mobilizes thousands of people to pray and carry out actions to call on the governments of the U.S. and Colombia to put an end to the armed conflict in Colombia. This year, people have real hope that a Peace Accord will be signed, ending  fifty-years of fighting between the government and the FARC guerillas. As “Plan Colombia” moves to “Peace Colombia” advocates in the U.S. must call for the U.S. to end militarized aid, and instead invest fully in Colombia’s peace.

This year’s DOPA theme, “Building Peace from the Ground Up” acknowledges the role grassroots peacebuilding has had in tilling the soil for the peace agreement, and the critical role it will play in nurturing a peace that will be sustained in Colombia. Across our two nations we will plant ‘seeds of peace’ together, committing ourselves to renewed work and policies needed for a just peace in Colombia to grow.

For there shall be a sowing of peace; the vine shall yield its fruit, the ground shall give its produce, and the skies shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. (Zechariah 8:11)

COLOMBIA: Palm oil company attacks and intimidates Las Pavas community members

 

Burned house and kitchen | Photo: Marian DeCouto

Palm oil company Aportes San Isidro continues to harass and threaten the community of Las Pavas in 2016.  The farming community’s association ASOCAB continues to denounce these aggressions to no avail.  Even though judicial and administrative decisions have appeared to favour the community, the reality on the ground remains the same.  For this reason ASOCAB has published a public complaint against the company regarding the most recent events in hopes that the authorities will put an end to the impunity.

ASOCAB demands that the government “investigate and sanction those responsible, both the owner as well as the security guards, who are blatantly violating our fundamental rights and liberties.”  The community also asks that the government to guarantee their safety and to follow through with the allocation and titling of the Las Pavas land that the National Institute of Rural Development (INCODER) has deemed state land.

 A summary of the most recent incidents is as follows:

Prayers for Peacemakers, March 24, 2016

We give thanks for the members of the 2016 Holy Week delegation, a national delegation arranged by CPT Colombia. Pray for their safe travel, for group cohesion and effective engagement as they learn about the work of CAHUCOPANA.

This Holy Week, join your prayers with peacemakers across the globe as we remember the journey of Jesus and his friends to Jerusalem, the terrible events that took place there, and the good news that we have heard ever since.

Epixil* for March 27, 2016 Easter Sunday 
Holy Week Delegation
Members of the Colombian National Holy Week Delegation
They will build houses and dwell in them;
    they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
    or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
    so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
    the work of their hands.
They will not labor in vain,
    nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
    they and their descendants with them.
Before they call I will answer;
    while they are still speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
    and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord.
Isaiah 65:21-25

They will build houses and dwell in them;
    they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
    or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
    so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
    the work of their hands.
They will not labor in vain,
    nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
    they and their descendants with them.
Before they call I will answer;
    while they are still speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
    and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord.

Isaiah 65:21-25

*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

COLOMBIA: Public Declaration issued by CAHUCOPANA regarding the persecution of Carlos Usaga

CPTnet
March 21, 2016
COLOMBIA: Public Declaration issued by CAHUCOPANA regarding the persecution of Carlos Usaga 

 

The Corporation for Humanitarian Action, Cohabitation, and Peace in Northeast Antioquia – CAHUCOPANA – denounces the persecution and intimidation of Carlos Alfredo Palacios Usuga, member of the Board of Directors of CAHUCOPANA.  The incident, carried out by unidentified men, took place in the municipality of Remedios, department of Antioquia.

Incident

On March 2 of this year, Carlos Palacios was running errands in the urban centers of the municipalities of Segovia and Remedios, preparing later to travel to the rural sectors of these municipalities.

At approximately 11:00 am Carlos left the City Hall of Remedios, where he had been processing paperwork for a regional development project, and headed to the office of the Campesino Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC) located in the same municipality, when he realized an unknown subject had followed him. Without giving it much thought, he then went to a restaurant for lunch, then to a hairdresser, and finally back to City Hall.

During his route, the subject followed Carlos and waited outside each establishment until he left. At 4:00 pm outside of City Hall, a blue and black motorcycle picked up the olive-skinned man, who was wearing jeans, a white and orange striped shirt, and white and black tennis shoes. However, before leaving he took a picture of Carlos with his cell phone.

COLOMBIA: The Northeast Trail--a travel blog


COLOMBIA: The Northeast Trail--a travel blog

In October 2015 two CPTers traveled with our partners CAHUCOPANA across the Northeast region of Antioquia on a nine-day tour, immersing ourselves CAHUCOPANA’s rigorous daily schedule of workshops, meetings, and lots of travel. The ‘Northeast’, as they refer to it, is a region rich in resources and biodiversity where rolling hills of untouched jungle give way to small communities etched into the landscape, often only accessible by mule or on foot.  Unfortunately the region also has a history of displacement and human rights abuses, because the state does not involve itself in the region. One of CAHUCOPANA’s initiatives in response to this abandonment is the fomentation of women’s activism in the region, by the name of Women’s Humanitarian Action Committees.  Luna and Carlos, CAHUCOPANA field workers in the Remedios municipality and our guides for the week, travel regularly from village to village supporting and organizing the communities in their struggle for justice.  Our objective was to participate in several monthly committee meetings, listening and learning from the women of Northeast Antioquia.  

Prayers for Peacemakers, February 11, 2016

Pray for Carlos Morales, CPT Colombia's partner and friend, who has been unjustly detained for over four months.  Yesterday the judge postponed his hearing on grounds of a medical procedure.  This has become a pattern among cases of human rights defenders and social movement leaders, as a systematic strategy to draw out their cases as a way to prolong their detainment.

February 11, 2016  First Sunday of Lent
Libertad para Carlos Morales
Psalm 91:1-2, 9-10: You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust."
Because you have made the LORD your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.

Psalm 91:1-2, 9-10: You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust."

Because you have made the LORD your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place,
no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.

 
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

COLOMBIA: 2016--a pivotal year for Colombia; an awesome year to join a delegation.

A civil war that has spanned over half a century in Colombia may soon end. When the FARC guerrilla members demobilize, civil society has the task of re-integrating these armed actors and building community. The government must follow through on its promises of reparations for the victims if its atrocities, violence and injustices, and guarantees it will not repeat them.

When Colombians speak of peace, the words 'social justice' go right alongside. The community leaders and human rights activists we partner with are very cautious to celebrate this peace deal until the government can prove that the demobilization is only the first of many steps to ensure the multi-faceted wellbeing and human rights of the Colombian population.  

We here at CPT welcome you to partner with us in 2016.  Consider joining one of our delegations to learn more about the work that we do and become a part of the Colombian solidarity movement.  If you cannot come to Colombia this year, encourage a friend who you think would benefit from an experience with CPT.  Or donate today to provide scholarships for individuals who want to participate. 

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